Sexual assault on minors traumatic, destroys personality: Patna High Courts upholds father’s conviction for raping his minor daughters for 6 years

Patna High Court

Patna High Court: The Division Bench of A.M. Badar and Rakesh Kumar Verma, JJ., while dismissing an appeal observed that a sexual assault leaves a traumatic effect on a victim of a minor age which not only affects her physically but also affects her emotionally and psychologically which ultimately leads to the destruction of her personality. Therefore, the Bench upheld the conviction of a man who raped his two minor daughters for 6 continuous years.

Background of the case

The accused, the father of the two minor female victims, was exercising the position of control and dominance over his two daughters and had repeatedly committed penetrative sexual assault on the two victims.

The Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge (POCSO), Bhojpur at Ara, in POCSO Case No.4 of 2013, convicted him for the offences punishable under Section 376(i) of the Penal Code, 1860 and under Sections 6 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the offence punishable under Section 6 of the POCSO Act. For the offence punishable under Section 10 of the said Act, he was sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five years. The trial Court had directed that the substantive sentences shall run concurrently. Challenging the impugned order of the trial court, the accused filed an appeal.

Analysis and Decision

The Bench observed that rape is a ghastly act that leaves the victim shattered for life as it causes not only physical but emotional and psychological trauma to the victim. Further, the Bench observed, “sexual activities with a minor girl, have a traumatic effect on them, which persists throughout their life and often destroys the whole personality of the victim. The victim of a sexual assault is not an accomplice, but she is a victim of the lust of another person.” Therefore, the court while dealing with such cases of sexual assault of a minor female, the Court is expected to shoulder great responsibility and is required to deal with such cases sensibly.

At this juncture, the Bench relied on the judgment given by the Supreme Court in Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai Vs. State of Gujarat, (1983) 3 SCC 217, where it was held that rarely a girl or woman in India makes a false allegation of sexual assault. A girl or a woman in the tradition bound non-permissive society of India would be extremely reluctant even to admit that any incident which is likely to reflect on her chastity had ever occurred. Such a girl would be conscious of the danger of being ostracized by society or being looked down upon by society including her relatives etc.

Further, the Bench opined that the evidence of a victim stands at a higher pedestal than that of an injured witness. Evidence of a victim of a rape case is required to receive the same weight as attached evidence of an injured witness. If the totality of circumstances emerging on record discloses that the victim of such crime does not have any motive to falsely implicate the accused, then, it is not required to seek corroboration to her evidence and the Court generally needs to accept her evidence.

Hence, the Bench, by dismissing the appeal upheld the conviction of the accused under Section 376(i) of the Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 6 and 10 of the POCSO Act.

[F v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine Pat 1926, decided on 25-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Vikram Deo Singh, Jitendra Prasad Singh, and Shankar Kumar, Advocates, for the Appellant/s;

Abhimanyu Sharma, APP, Advocate, for the Respondent/s.

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